Connect to Israel


SKIP enrollment for 2024 opens October 15th.

The deadline to submit your application or annual contribution is November 15, 2024.

New Enrollment Packets will be sent out this Fall.


SKIP is a cooperative program in which families, congregations, and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago each contribute funds toward an Israel Experience program for participating students. The SKIP goal is for each student to travel to Israel as part of their Jewish education. Enrollment begins during a student’s 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grade and continues through 9th grade. Both public school and day school students are eligible. The combined annual contribution for our children at Beth Shalom is $255 – $70 from each family, $100 from the Zemsky Memorial SKIP Fund and $85 from the Federation. Although the SKIP monies may not cover the entire cost of a trip to Israel, the funds make a considerable reduction in the expense. Each year a total of $255 is placed in a special, interest-bearing account. If your child participates for the full seven years (grades 3 through 9) s/he will have approximately $1800 ($1785 plus interest) saved to help meet the cost of an educational Israel trip. Furthermore, families in financial need can apply for scholarships from other sources.

Enrollment is arranged through the synagogue’s religious school. After the initial enrollment form is completed, we are responsible for the rest – submitting the partnership agreements, transferring the funds and reporting our children’s names to the Federation office. The deadline is November 15th for the submission of forms and payment. For more information, please contact the school office at 847-498-5352 or .

Most synagogues contribute $85 or less per child. Why is Congregation Beth Shalom able to contribute $100 for SKIP enrollees? We are fortunate that the congregation’s portion is supported by the David L. Zemsky Memorial SKIP Fund, and underwritten by Delores and Eugene Zemsky. This allows us to add $100 to every child’s SKIP account annually.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I register my child? All CBS families with children in 3rd will receive a letter in the Fall inviting them to join the partnership. The necessary forms will be included in the letter. For each child a New Participation Agreement is required along with a $70 check, made payable to Congregation Beth Shalom. Forms and payments must be submitted to the Religious School office by November 15th. We will do the rest. Families already enrolled will receive a bill in the Fall. Payment is due by November 15th.

What if I forget to sign up in 3rd grade? May I start my child at a later date? Yes, you may begin participating when your child is in 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grade. Those in grades 7 and up may participate in the Gift of Israel program which compliments the SKIP program.

If I want to enroll my child who is currently in 4th, 5th or 6th grade, may I pay past 9th grade and make up missing years or pay for past years? No, you may begin contributions in grades 3, 4, 5, or 6 but you may only contribute through 9th grade and additional payments are not accepted.

If my child would like to go to Israel before the completion of 9th grade, may I use his/her funds one year earlier? SKIP ‘s goal is for funds to be used for a high school or college Israel Experience program and is designed for high school students who have completed their freshman year. If you withdraw your SKIP money early you will not receive the donated funds from the synagogue or JUF. You will receive interest on the amount you donated. There is an exception for the 8th grade IsraelNow Trip. A portion of your SKIP money may be applied to this educational experience.

May we use the funds for a family trip to Israel? The partnership program is designed to promote travel with a peer group. Although the synagogue and JUF support and encourage family trips, these funds are to be used when your child travels with a group of friends on his or her own young adult trip to Israel.

What if we move and we join another synagogue in the Chicagoland area? If the synagogue has a SKIP program, your child’s account will be transferred and the partnership continues. Your contribution most likely will be $85 or more each year with JUF and the new synagogue continuing the portion it has determined. Some synagogues do not match the full parent contribution but Congregation Beth Shalom contributes more than the suggested amount.

After several years of contributions, my child no longer wants to travel to Israel. What happens? You will receive a complete refund of the money you deposited, plus the interest on that money. Congregation Beth Shalom’s portion is returned to the synagogue.

What is an Israel Experience and how is it different from the Birthright program?  Israel Experiences are identity-building, peer group programs run by non-profit organizations that allow participants to learn in-depth about the land, culture and people of Israel. The mission of Birthright is to provide every Jewish adult a trip to Israel. While some organizations provide educational experiences most are just social groups. SKIP funds may be used for a vast range of longer, more in-depth programs and may be used any time after a student completes ninth grade. Click for ideas on using your SKIP funds.

More information is available through the religious school office or JUF – Israel Experience.

Click here to learn more about redeeming your Israel Experience Funds